A police station in Butuan City has initiated a “Pass the Hat Challenge’ to raise funds that would be given to the family of Sonya Gregorio, a 52-year old woman who was shot dead along with her son, in an apparent case of cold-blooded murder in Paniqui, Tarlac on Sunday.
The challenge to raise funds to help the Gregorio family is seen as a rebuke to a few members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) who have justified and defended the brutal killing of Gregorio and her son perpetrated by Police Staff Sgt. Jonel Nuezca.
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Capt. Emerson L. Alipit, the station commander of Butuan City Police Station 3, said they initiated the campaign on Tuesday amid the intense debate and bashing in the social media targeting the entire PNP organization.
“Immediately after I learned of this incident, I immediately met my men and explained to them that what that police officer did does not reflect who we are as members of the PNP. While there are a very few of us who are abusive, there are still a lot of PNP members who just do their job and are willing to help the public which we vow to serve and protect,” Alipit told the Manila Bulletin in a phone interview.
“We want to send a clear message that what happened in Paniqui (does not define) who we are as PNP members. All of us in the PNP were taught that our service firearms are for us to defend ourselves and to defend those who are in need, and not to be used as an instrument to do something like that,” he added.
The Pass The Hat Challenge, according to Alipit, is normally being done to raise funds for the family of any policeman who makes the ultimate sacrifice or in dire need of help.
This time, Alipit told his men that the same challenge could be done to extend financial assistance to the Gregorio family which he said is a victim of a tragedy that was committed by one of the PNP members.
“Kami po ay makikiramay at nakikidalamhati sa pamilya Gregorio at nais naming maipaabot ang mabuting puso at pagmamahal ng inyong kapulisan mula sa Butuan City Police,” the Facebook post read.
Alipit said there was a positive response among his men as all of them gave money for the Gregorio family. He said that relatives of his men and other civilians are also welcome to donate.
“Since we are in Mindanao, I will coordinate with the Chief of Police of Paniqui in order for the funds we would raise to reach the family of Gregorio,” said Alipit, a native of Mt. Province but was assigned to the CARAGA region after his graduation at the PNP Academy in 2011.
Pass The Challenge
Alipit said that they have already raised the same challenge to other members of the Butuan City Police and other police units in the CARAGA region.
In the Facebook post, the Butuan City Police Station 3 called on other members of the Butuan City Police to initiate the Pass the Hat Challenge.